The Fall | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Fall 

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(image added 2018)

(image added 2018)

Narnack Records

The Fall was featured on John Peel's radio show more than any other band, recording 24 sessions between 1978 and 2004. Mark E. Smith, the group's lone constant, hired and fired more than 30 musicians during that time as he leapt fearlessly from postpunk to slick college rock to sleek disco to straight-up garage rock to utterly fucked collages. The Complete Peel Sessions, the six-CD collection released last year, is the handiest one-stop documentation of those ups and downs we're likely to get. There's no more thrilling band in rock 'n' roll than the Fall at their best, with Smith snarling over a remorseless, repetitive churn in a voice so acrid it could wilt every garden south of Glasgow. But even at their worst--say, the synth-dominated rockabilly demolition "Jungle Rock"--they make a pretty compelling train wreck. Speaking of which, as has been the pattern way too often of late, things haven't gone smoothly on their U.S. tour so far. After a chaotic set in Phoenix--during which the lead singer of opening act the Talk threw a banana peel at Smith, who then chased him into the parking lot--three members of the lineup that recorded the latest album, Fall Heads Roll (Narnack), took the next flight back to England. Smith and his keyboard-playing wife, Elena Poulou, have since recruited members of the Cairo Gang to fill in for the rest of the tour, as well as some just-announced dates in Europe; shows since have earned mixed reviews. The Cairo Gang also opens this show, along with video artist Safi Sniper. Tue 5/30, 9:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $20. All ages.

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